George Pearson (1719-1807)
George Pearson was probably born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, the town where he was to live all his life. He first heard Methodist preaching in the nearby hamlet of Shingley Fold and he was converted soon after, marking the commencement of a Christian commitment and a membership of the Methodist society that was to last for over sixty years.
Pearson sought out John Wesley during a visit to the area and obtained from him a promise that a preacher would be sent to Macclesfield, representing the birth of Methodism in the town. Pearson and his wife provided the itinerants with a place to stay, despite the fact that he himself was poor and had a large family of seven or eight children. In the early years, persecution was intense and his windows were broken many times. On one occasion the mob stacked wood to burn Pearson's house down but were prevented by a warning from the mayor.
Pearson delighted in helping the preachers in whatever way he could, to the extent of cleaning their shoes. His house was used as the first place of Methodist worship in the town and he was to live long enough to witness its succession by two chapels, each of which was larger than its predecessor.
Pearson served as a class leader and at the time of his death at the age of eighty-eight was still leading two classes and had attended one, the week before he died, despite a rapidly declining health. He also held other offices in the society and although he grew in affluence over the years, he 'continued to be in every respect, the same plain and humble man: only that he exercised greater liberality towards the cause of God and the necessities of the poor&'.
Pearson's last illness was a product of natural decay.
The nature of Pearson's business is not recorded in his obituary, although as his son was a silk manufacturer (the town's principal industry), it may be safe to assume that his father was also involved in some way.
Source: Arminian Magazine 1808, 272-276.